Audrii Cunningham

Audrii Cunningham is Remembered as A Brilliant Fifth Grader – Following The Accusation Of Her Murder by A Family Friend

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BestLawyerTips | News – Following the accusation of her murder by a family friend, Audrii Cunningham is remembered as a brilliant fifth grader.

At a Wednesday night vigil beside the river where Audrii Cunningham’s corpse was discovered earlier this week, her family and friends grieved the bright and outgoing 11-year-old from east Texas who went missing on her way to school.

Brenda Cedars, Audrii’s aunt, stated, “No matter where she went or who she met, she just made them light up.” No matter how you were feeling, she could always make you laugh. Simply said, it’s unfair that we were all deprived of it.

Authorities stated that Audrii vanished on Thursday morning after leaving her rural Livingston, Texas, home with a family friend who had promised to drive her to the school bus stop. However, the fifth-grader never made it to her classroom or the bus, setting off a frantic five-day search that came to an end when, according to court filings, her body—which was weighted down with a large rock—was retrieved from a nearby river.

Don Steven McDougal, the buddy who was meant to drive her to the bus stop, was accused with capital murder on Wednesday in connection with her passing.

Cassie Matthews, Audrii’s mother, expressed during the memorial that she is speechless due to her anguish. Her daughter, according to her, is “perfection.”

The mother said, “I’m really blessed to have given birth to such an amazing little girl.”

Audrii’s favorite color is purple, therefore as the memorial ceremony drew to a close, the throng grasped candles. Some people arranged bouquets of lavender and vibrantly colored flowers on a table adorned with balloon clusters, while kids wearing purple gowns, shoes, and scrunchies bustled around the event.

According to Kasey Evans, whose daughter went to school with Audrii, she was “friendly, very nice, and very caring,” and she had no problem establishing friends.

The fifth-grader’s death has left many of her classmates and friends in shock; each child’s grieving process will be unique, according to Livingston School District Superintendent Brent Hawkins in a statement.

“Losing a kid is devastating no matter what, but losing one the manner we did was much more devastating. We had a brush with evil, but I don’t know how to characterize it,” Hawkins said to CNN station KPRC.

Evans stated that she now needs to inform her children that Audrii would never return home after first finding it difficult to respond to their inquiries about whether or not she had been located.

She questioned, “How do you sit there and tell your babies… that they’re not going to see their friend.” “How do you make sense of it to them?”

Suspect stayed on the family’s land.

According to Polk County investigators, the suspect, McDougal, was a friend of Audrii’s father who occasionally took the child to the local school bus stop. McDougal resided in a trailer on her family’s property.

McDougal had promised to drive Audrii to the bus station on Thursday morning, but authorities have discovered a bag that looked similar to Audrii’s bright red Hello Kitty backpack near a nearby dam. Audrii was never spotted at the bus stop.

As investigators feverishly searched the hamlet, which is located around 70 miles northeast of Houston, he was the primary person of interest in her disappearance, he claimed. According to Sheriff Byron Lyons, McDougal was observed assisting in the search by ringing on neighbors’ doors and inquiring as to if anybody had seen Audrii.

Tuesday, Audrii’s corpse was discovered in the Trinity River, downriver from the reservoir close to the backpack’s discovery. According to Lyons, McDougal told detectives he had visited a number of places around the time of her disappearance.

A criminal complaint claims that a big rock was fastened to the child’s body using a rope that “was consistent with rope that was observed in McDougal’s vehicle on a traffic stop two days prior.”

She is probably being examined by the Harris county medical examiner, and no details about her body remain have been disclosed.

Investigators confirm McDougal lied about his locations and actions by using surveillance footage, cell phone data, and forensic evidence, as per the affidavit he was asked to sign (criminal complaint).

Based on activity on a Facebook account that seems to belong to the suspect, McDougal stated in a number of social media remarks in the days following Audrii’s disappearance that he was innocent of her abduction and had “done nothing wrong.”

The day after Audrii was reported missing, a remark from the account underneath a post on the Facebook page “True Crime Society” said, “I’m not guilty.”

I would answer a question if in in the platform. “I am not a coward,” it allegedly said in a caption of a photo attributed to McDougal released on Friday, he added. ” I have done all that I can within my reach to help find her,” he replied for the second time too. But I did nothing inappropriate.

According to the trial, McDougal has a long crime record that has been going on since the late 1990s. He has been found guilty of violent crimes including sexual abuse of minors.

He was found guilty in 2007 of luring a kid in the Texas county of Brazoria. According to court documents, he entered a plea of not guilty and received a two-year jail term with 527 days of credit.

After Audrii Cunningham’s body was discovered in a river, chained to a rock, the suspect in her killing is accused of capital murder.

The state defines the misdemeanor as “the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years” when someone “entices, persuades, or takes the child from the custody of the parent or guardian.” Online records do not provide specific claims made in the case.

McDougal was already incarcerated in relation to a separate assault case on Wednesday when he was accused in Audrii’s death. Because he is charged with capital murder, he is being detained without bond.

There is no counsel listed for McDougal in either the prison records or the court filings that were filed on Wednesday.


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